Showing posts with label reparations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reparations. Show all posts

Friday, May 19, 2023

Congresswoman Cori Bush Introduces Legislation Urging Federal Reparations

Washington D.C. (May 18, 2023) — Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) introduced a resolution that forcefully argues why the federal government must provide reparations to descendants of enslaved Black people and people of African descent. The resolution outlines the various forms those reparations should take. The Reparations Now Resolution seeks to advance federal reparations, support existing reparatory justice efforts such as H.R. 40 and H. Con. Res. 44, and provide further momentum to reparations efforts at the state and local levels.


“I am one of the 40 million people in this country descended from enslaved Africans. Our ancestors were torn away from their homes and families, enslaved, and forced to fuel this country’s economy since the day it was founded. And then they were left landless, impoverished, and disenfranchised," said Congresswoman Bush. “Black people continue to bear the harms of slavery and its vestiges, through the Black-white wealth gap, segregation and redlining, disparities in health outcomes, a racist and destructive criminal legal system, and countless other ways. Yet our federal government refuses to acknowledge the lasting harms of slavery and the unjust world it created for Black people. We know this injustice because we experience it every day. This resolution will move us closer to a federal government that acknowledges its responsibility for this injustice and enacts a holistic and comprehensive reparations package that begins to address the harm it has caused, the wealth it has extracted, and the lives it has stolen.”


A copy of this resolution can be found HERE. A copy of the one-pager can be found HERE. A copy of her remarks, as prepared for delivery, from yesterday’s press conference announcing this resolution can be found HERE.


This resolution is co-sponsored by Representatives Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Al Green (TX-09), Jonathan Jackson (IL-01), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Summer Lee (PA-12), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Delia Ramirez (IL-04) and Rashida Tlaib (MI-12).


Tuesday, April 11, 2023

National Reparations Organization Requests Designation for the Descendants of Persons Enslaved in the United States

The National Assembly of American Slavery Descendants (NAASD) has formally requested that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) designate the classification “African American” exclusively for the "Descendants of Persons Enslaved in the United States". Since 2021, NAASD has met directly with Biden Administration officials on this issue since President Biden has made equitable data collection a priority with the signing of the Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. The OMB’s revised Statistical Policy Directive (SPD) 15 recommendation must conform to this Executive Order.

For the first time since 1997, the Office of Management and Budget is now accepting public comments on their initial proposal from the Federal Interagency Technical Working Group on Race and Ethnic Standards which was released in January 2023. The final proposal set to be unveiled by the end of this year, will revise the OMB’s Statistical Policy Directive which sets the “standards for maintaining, collecting and presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity”. The OMB’s current definition of Black or African-American is “a person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa”. This current definition does not denote any specific ethnic group and does not reflect that a distinct ethnic group emerged from U.S. Slavery.

Because of the present flawed definition of Black/African-American, in addition to the growing diversity of the Black community, current data collection on our community is not accurately providing insight to the well being of African Americans.

California's AB3121 has set precedence with specificity for Descendants of Persons Enslaved in the United States. California Governor Gavin Newsom also signed into law SB189; Section 14 which disaggregates Black Americans and provides a category for data collection specifically for “African Americans who are descendants of persons enslaved in the United States.”

It is time for the OMB to follow suit. It is the recommendation of NAASD that the OMB’s revised SPD 15 definition of “African American” means: “a person having origins in the United States with ancestors historically classified as African, Negro, Black or Colored who were either born free or enslaved in the United States and emancipated nationally by the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution”.

We urge the public to give public comment to the OMB and share this point of view through April 27, 2023 in support of our position here. If you need guidance, we have also prepared a toolkit to be shared with family, friends, and organizations within the African American Community. Now is the time for the largest Black population in the United States to unite for the disaggregation of data that will support accurate data collection and billions of dollars coming directly into our community.

The National Assembly of American Slavery Descendants was founded in 2019 to advance reparative policy and legislation for Black American Descendants of U. S. Chattel Slavery .

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Sen. Cory Booker Reintroduces Legislation to Form Commission for Study of Reparation Proposals for African Americans

U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced S.40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, legislation that would establish a commission to consider proposals for reparations for African American descendants of slavery. The legislation is the Senate companion to H.R. 40, introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18).

The Commission will study the impact of slavery and the continuing discrimination against African-Americans and will make recommendations on reparation proposals for the descendants of slaves.

“Our nation must reckon with its dark past of slavery and its continued oppression of African Americans, fueled by white supremacy and racism,” said Senator Booker. “Many of our bedrock domestic policies that have ushered millions of Americans into the middle class have systematically excluded Black individuals. I urge my colleagues to support this bill that will address the institutional racism that has suppressed African Americans prosperity throughout our history and bring our country one step closer to our founding principles of liberty and justice for all.”

“I am pleased to thank Senator Cory Booker for introducing the Senate version of the Commission to Study Slavery and Develop Reparations Proposals Act. His introduction of this bill in the Senate is pivotal to the success of this legislation in the 118th Congress. I'm further pleased that Senator Booker, with his storied history of civil rights leadership, sees the value of legislation that takes a historical look at slavery and then works collectively to assess the repair for that era in American history. I believe that the Commission to Study Slavery and Develop Reparation Proposals Act is a crucial piece of legislation that will complement the House version, HR 40. This legislation, both the House and Senate version, goes beyond exploring the economic implications of slavery and segregation but is a holistic approach to reconciling that period of American history. This bill will allow for a moral and social overview of the implications of slavery and the status of African Americans today. I look forward to working with Senator Booker in a bipartisan manner to get this bill through the House and Senate and on to the President’s desk. America will truly be the beneficiary!” said Representative Jackson Lee.

The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Patty Murray (D-WA).

Over 190 organizations working to advance civil rights in America have endorsed the legislation. A list of those organizations can be found here.

The full text of the legislation can be found here.

The House companion bill can be found here. 

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Academic Study Finds Reparations to Black Americans Would Narrow Racial Health Gap, Increase Life Expectancy

Study published in JAMA Network Open presents research linking African Americans' poor health outcomes and shorter life expectancy to substantially lower wealth

A study published today in JAMA Network Open concludes that the racial wealth gap has lethal implications for Black Americans. On average, White households have more than a 6 to 1 advantage over Black households in mean wealth, $980,549 to $142,330, contributing to widespread racial health inequities and shortened life expectancies.  READ STUDY HERE

Completed by researchers at Harvard Medical School, the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins, Drexel, and Duke, the study finds that eliminating the wealth gap with reparations payments would shrink racial inequities in health and longevity. The study links the low wealth of Blacks, a product of the legacy of slavery and subsequent discriminatory public and private policies and practices, to their shorter life expectancy.

“Our study demonstrates a reparations plan that raised Black net worth sufficiently to eliminate the racial wealth gap for Black American descendants of U.S. slavery would lengthen Black lives dramatically,” said Dr. William Darity Jr., professor of Economics, African and African American Studies at Duke University, and a co-author of the study.

The researchers analyzed data on 33,501 Black and White middle-aged Americans who were tracked for up to 26 years in the federally-funded Health and Retirement Study, which collects comprehensive data on each person’s wealth. Specifically, it includes data rarely available in health studies, such as net value of investments, housing equity, vehicles and other assets.

Among the research subjects, whose average age was 59 at the outset of the study, the odds of dying for Blacks was 26% higher than their White counterparts, equivalent to 4.0 fewer years of remaining life expectancy. The researchers found that differences in wealth accounted for much of the life expectancy gap and projected the effect of equalizing wealth through reparations payments. Their analysis indicates that fully closing the wealth gap would nearly equalize the two groups’ odds of dying, greatly reducing the current Black-White inequity in life expectancy.

“Our findings add to the compelling moral case for reparations,” said Dr. Kathryn Himmelstein, a study co-author and infectious disease fellow at Harvard's Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's Hospitals. “Compensating Black families for the economic legacy of slavery and discrimination would do more than heal their finances – it would improve their health and add years to their lives.”

Some activists and scholars have long advocated reparations for Black Americans as compensation for the racism that began with slavery and continued with Jim Crow laws, New Deal programs that initially excluded many Black Americans, housing policies that limited Black families from gaining intergenerational wealth, and other racist government policies and practices. Reparations advocates point to historical precedents like the U.S. government’s payments to previously-interned Japanese Americans and Germany’s payments to Holocaust survivors. Poll data from 2021 suggest 36% of all Americans, including 86% of Black Americans, support reparations (up from 15% of Americans in 2014), and 196 members of Congress have signed on to a bill that would establish a federal commission to study reparations.

“Many health workers are aware of the deadly impacts of racism on health for Black people, but few have supported reparations as a remedy,” said Dr. Michelle Morse, a co-author of the study and internal medicine physician and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. “This research makes it clearer than ever for the medical and public health community to consider reparations as a remedy to advance racial justice and health equity.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2022


To commemorate the 1972 National Black Political Convention held in Gary, Indiana, the National Assembly of American Slavery Descendants (NAASD) will hold its inaugural Reparations Summit September 30-October 1, 2022 at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, GA. The theme of the inaugural summit will be “Where Do We Go From Here: Imagining Our Future.”

The opening address will be given by activist and author of the book “Redress: The Untold Story of Japanese Reparations” John Tateishi. During the two day summit discussions and insight into the modern day Reparations movement will take precedent. Each day will feature activities that will be focused towards:

-Leadership & Organizer Training
-Genealogy & Group Therapy
-Reparations Roundtables

Featured panelists will include:

-Kamilah Moore, Chair of the California Reparations Task Force
-Dr. William “Sandy” Darity. Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics at Duke University
-Dr. Shirley Weber, California Secretary of State and author of AB 3121
*Dr. Weber will also give the summit’s Keynote Address

The National Assembly of American Slavery Descendants (NAASD) is a grassroots association of community activists from across the United States that came together around May 2019 though the pursuit of political education and a desire to understand the plight of our people. NAASD became an official 501c3 organization in March 2022.

NAASD is committed to educating and training American Freedmen, who are Black American Descendants of US Chattel Slavery, on civic engagement nationwide. Our mission serves to empower the future generations of American Freedmen to preserve our unique lineage and culture for decades to come, while advancing principles that heal America and preserve democracy for all.

Khansa T. Jones-Muhammad
National Assembly of American Slavery Descendants
+1 202-503-4729
email us here
Visit us on social media:

Friday, June 03, 2022

California Reparations Task Force Releases Interim Report Detailing Harms of Slavery and Systemic Discrimination on African Americans

 As part of California’s historic Assembly Bill 3121 (AB 3121), the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans (Reparations Task Force) today released an interim report providing an in-depth overview of the harms inflicted on African Americans in California and across the nation due to the ongoing legacy of slavery and systemic discrimination. The interim report includes a preliminary set of recommendations to the California Legislature and a final report is expected to be issued in 2023. The Reparations Task Force is a first-in-the-nation effort by a state government to study slavery, its effects throughout American history, and the compounding harms that the United States and Californian governments have inflicted upon African Americans.

“Without accountability, there is no justice. For too long, our nation has ignored the harms that have been — and continue to be — inflicted on African Americans in California and across the country,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. “California was not a passive actor in perpetuating these harms. We must double down on our efforts to address discrimination in our state and nation and take a hard look at our own history, including at the California Department of Justice. This interim report is a historic step by the State of California to acknowledge the insidious effects of slavery and ongoing systemic discrimination, recognize the state's failings, and move toward rectifying the harm. I commend the Reparations Task Force for their commitment to this effort and for being a model for partners across the nation. I urge every American to read the task force’s report and join with us in recommitting ourselves to justice.”

 “It has been an honor and a privilege to supervise the release of this monumental interim report,” said Task Force Chair Kamilah Moore. “A year-long effort, this 500+ page report chronicles the harms against the African American community, starting with the transatlantic slave trade, the institution of U.S. chattel slavery, Emancipation and the broken promise of Reconstruction, genocidal Jim Crow, to contemporary harms; it is the most extensive government-issued report on the African American community since the Kerner Commission in 1968. Thus, it is my hope that people in California and across the United States utilize this report as an educational and organizing tool, as this interim report exceeds expectations in substantiating the claim for reparations for the African American/American Freedmen community on the municipal, state and federal level."

“It is a privilege to sit on a task force that has the moral obligation of fulfilling the task of developing measures that will right the wrongs which were collectively perpetuated against the African American community solely on the basis of the color of our skin,” said Task Force Vice Chair Dr. Amos C. Brown. "Other groups that have suffered exclusion, oppression, and downright destruction of human existence have received reparations, and we should have no less."

The institution of slavery is inextricably woven into the establishment, history, and prosperity of the United States. Constitutionally and statutorily sanctioned from 1619 to 1865, slavery deprived more than four million Africans and their descendants of life, liberty, citizenship, cultural heritage, and economic opportunity. Following the abolition of slavery, government entities at the federal, state, and local levels continued to perpetuate, condone, and often profit from practices that brutalized African Americans and excluded them from meaningful participation in society. This legacy of slavery and racial discrimination has resulted in debilitating economic, educational, and health hardships that are uniquely experienced by African Americans. 

AB 3121 charges the Reparations Task Force with studying the institution of slavery and its lingering negative effects on living African Americans, including descendants of persons enslaved in the United States and on society. The legislation, enacted on September 30, 2020, requires the task force to also recommend appropriate remedies of compensation, rehabilitation, and restitution for African Americans, with a special consideration for descendants of persons enslaved in the United States. The Reparations Task Force’s work is ongoing and the interim report primarily focuses on identifying and summarizing the myriad badges and incidents of slavery. The interim report builds on months of public hearings, hours of expert, public, and witness testimony, and numerous records submitted to the task force. 

In the interim report released today, the Reparations Task Force — over the course of 13 chapters — provides an accounting of many of the harms of slavery and systemic discrimination in California and across the nation. The interim report offers a synthesis of many of the relevant issues, ranging from enslavement and government sanctioned residential segregation to environmental injustice and political disenfranchisement. Some of the key findings noted in the interim report include:

  • In order to maintain slavery, colonial and American governments adopted white supremacy beliefs and passed laws in order to maintain a system that stole the labor and intellect of people of African descent;
  • In California, racial violence against African Americans began during slavery, continued through the 1920s, as groups like the Ku Klux Klan permeated local governments and police departments, and peaked after World War II, as African Americans attempted to move into white neighborhoods;
  • Due to residential segregation and compared to white Americans, African Americans are more likely to live in worse quality housing and in neighborhoods that are polluted, with inadequate infrastructure;
  • American government at all levels, including in California, has historically criminalized African Americans for the purposes of social control, and to maintain an economy based on exploited Black labor; and
  • Government laws and policies perpetuating badges of slavery have helped white Americans accumulate wealth, while erecting barriers which prevented African Americans from doing the same. These harms compounded over generations, resulting in an enormous gap in wealth between white and African Americans today in the nation and in California.

Additional information about the work of the Reparations Task Force and the ongoing public hearing process is available here:

A copy of the interim report is available here.


Wednesday, March 30, 2022

California task force votes to limit reparations to slave descendants

California’s first-in-the-nation task force on reparations has decided to limit state compensation to the descendants of free and enslaved Black people who were in the U.S. in the 19th century, narrowly rejecting a proposal to include all Black people regardless of lineage.

The vote Tuesday split 5-4, and the hours-long debate was at times testy and emotional. Near the end, the Rev. Amos Brown, president of the San Francisco branch of the NAACP and vice chair of the task force, pleaded with the commission to move ahead with a clear definition of who would be eligible for restitution.

“Please, please, please I beg us tonight, take the first step,” he said. ”We've got to give emergency treatment to where it is needed."

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation creating the two-year reparations task force in 2020, making California the only state to move ahead with a study and plan, with a mission to study the institution of slavery and its harms and to educate the public about its findings.


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Evanston Illinois: First US city to offer reparations for Black Americans

The city of Evanston, which is north of Chicago, once one of the most segregated cities in America has become the first place to offer the reparations. $25,000 payments to eligible residents will begin this spring.

This is due to the work of Robin Rue Simmons, an alderman in Evanston's 5th Ward, who introduced the reparations legislation.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Amalgamated Bank endorses HR 40 and reparations

Amalgamated Bank, the largest union-owned bank in the U.S. released a statement on Wednesday announcing that it backs reparations for Black Americans, becoming the first major American bank to do so.

Last year, Amalgamated Bank doubled-down on its commitment to racial justice initiatives. Catapulted by the cruel murder of George Floyd, the bank issued a statement supporting Black Lives Matter and publicly committed to 10 concrete actions to support racial justice, including the formation of a Racial Justice Task Force to build a more inclusive work environment. These efforts are built on the foundation that Amalgamated is America’s socially responsible bank and seeks to be a leader among its peers in creating a more just, sustainable world.

Today, Amalgamated Bank announced its endorsement of HR 40, which is calling upon the Federal Government to form a Commission to explore reparations for African Americans. As of now, we are the first major U.S. bank to endorse HR 40, but are hopeful we are not the last.

While Amalgamated’s nearly one hundred-year-old legacy of social action is clearly demonstrated, we acknowledge that there is more for all of us to do to stem the tide of complacency and call for higher levels of justice for all people.

Amalgamated also acknowledges the deep roots connecting the financial sector to the American slave economy. Banks and lenders played a key role in not only financing slavery, but in excluding Black people from financial resources by redlining, withholding investment into black-owned businesses, predatory lending practices, engaging in predatory pay day lending, and charging exorbitant fees that trap people in a downward spiral of debt.

Broadly speaking, the concept of reparations for gross violations against human rights is not new. Reparations have been used in numerous countries to attempt to achieve justice for past violations against specific groups of people. Although these strategies haven’t always been executed perfectly, they have been one of the key ways for governments to make amends for past violations, apologize, and restore equity among impacted communities.

We believe the commission created through H.R. 40 is an important first step towards achieving racial justice. The work shouldn’t stop there. Amalgamated believes there must be real, tangible remedies for African Americans and an explicit acknowledgement and apology by the Federal government for slavery’s role in creating our modern economy. We believe that this isn’t just morally right but is required for the country to truly move forward and build the thriving, equitable economy we clearly need.

That is why Amalgamated is proud to announce our support for H.R. 40 and reparations. We invite other banks and financial companies to do the same.

In addition to Amalgamated Bank’s endorsement of H.R. 40, the Amalgamated Foundation will continue its commitment to racial justice and expand that to strategies in support of reparations over the coming months.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee reintroduces Reparations Bill

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas recently reintroduced a bill that is the first step toward giving reparations to Black Americans whose lives have been impacted by the slavery of their ancestors.

Lee recently introduced H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, to the House Floor.

The legislation examines the specific role slavery played in creating inequality in the lives of Black Americans, as well as recommend a formal apology from the U.S. government.

“Today there are more people at the table –– more activists, more scholars, more CEOs, more state and local officials, and more members of Congress,” Lee said in a press release. “However, despite this progress and the election of the first American President of African descent, the legacy of slavery lingers heavily in this nation.

“In short, the Commission aims to study the impact of slavery and continuing discrimination against African Americans, resulting directly and indirectly from slavery to segregation to the desegregation process and the present day. The Commission would also make recommendations concerning any apology and compensation to begin the long-delayed process of atonement for slavery,” she said.

Lee also acknowledged the lack of financial restitution as the main factor in many of the issues the Black community faces today.

“These economic issues are the root cause for many critical issues in the African-American community today, such as education, health care, and criminal justice policy, including policing practices. The call for reparations represents a commitment to entering a constructive dialogue on the role of slavery and racism in shaping present-day conditions in our community and American society.”

Reparations legislation was first introduced in the House by the late Representative John Conyers in 1989. Conyers argued for reparations throughout his final years in Congress before he retired in 2017. Conyers died in 2019.

When he retired, Lee took up the torch to sponsor the bill and step up her campaign after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in 2020.

“I just simply ask, why not and why not now? If not all of us, then who?” she said, per a report by the Detroit News. “God bless us as we pursue the final justice for those who lived in slavery for 250 years in the United States of America.”


Saturday, October 03, 2020

California to Study Reparations for Black Americans

California will develop detailed proposals for granting reparations to Black Americans under a new law.

The legislation, which was authored by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, a Democrat representing San Diego who is chair of California's Legislative Black Caucus, does not commit to any specific payment. Instead, it establishes a nine-person task force that will study the impact of slavery on Black people in California and recommend to the Legislature what kind of compensation should be provided, who should receive it and what form it will take.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the law on Wednesday.

The task force must give its recommendations to the state Legislature one year after its first meeting.

The law would not limit the reparations to slavery.

But it does require the task force to give special consideration for black people who are descendants of slaves.

Similar proposals have been introduced in Congress for decades but have never passed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

U.S. Conference of Mayors expresses support for reparations

Last month at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ (USCM) 88th Annual Meeting, the Conference’s Executive Committee unanimously passed a resolution in support of the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act (H.R. 40/S. 1083), introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). It was one of the first acts of the USCM under new President and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. The mayor has pledged to put forward an ambitious agenda entitled American Breakthrough, and this reparations legislation is an important building block of that effort.
President Fischer recently sent a letter to Sen. Booker and Rep. Jackson Lee, reiterating support for the bill and talking about the importance of breaking down systemic barriers to justice and equality. In the letter, President Fischer writes:
“We recognize and support your legislation as a concrete first step in our larger reckoning as a nation, and a next step to guide the actions of both federal and local leaders who have promised to do better by our Black residents.
“Our support of your bicameral legislation is not just an endorsement – it is a resolution. We have resolved to do better for our Black residents by promoting equal rights and opportunity through the implementation of policy reforms at the local level, as well as through our advocacy for action at the federal level.
“This year, the nation’s mayors will work diligently on a national platform known as an American Breakthrough, which will be informed by mayor-led work groups on critical interconnected challenges: Police Reform and Racial Justice; Guiding the COVID-19 Response and Health Equity; Eliminating Poverty; Dismantling Systemic Racism; and Supporting Equitable Economic Recovery. We are committed to doing our role in local government to disrupt systemic racism, which inhibits the realization of a nation of liberty, prosperity, and justice for all.”
The full letter can be found here.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Illinois City To Use Cannabis Revenue For Reparations Fund For African-American Residents

The City of Evanston, Illinois is taking on a controversial topic – reparations.

Due to the efforts of 5th Ward Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, Evanston will start putting money in a fund to address the north suburban city’s decline in African-American residents, among other issues. The fund will be financed by revenue from cannabis – which becomes legal for recreational use in Illinois on Jan. 1.

The objective is to help African-Americans thrive in Evanston. Such a fund for reparations is a step that no other city in the country has accomplished.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Princeton seminary will pay $27M in slavery reparations

Princeton Theological Seminary Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed the implementation of a multi-year action plan to repent for its ties to slavery. The approved series of new initiatives, ranging from increased student financial assistance to curriculum changes to added support for the Center for Black Church Studies, is a direct response to a report the Seminary published in October 2018 after conducting a two-year historical audit.
“The report was an act of confession,” says John White, dean of students and vice president of student relations. “These responses are intended as acts of repentance that will lead to lasting impact within our community. This is the beginning of the process of repair that will be ongoing,” says White.

White served as chair of the historical audit recommendations task force, which included trustees, faculty, administrators, students, and alumni, who led a deliberative process to provide opportunities for the campus community to discuss and respond to the audit report. The task force hosted more than 25 events, meetings, and conversations on the campus in the previous academic year. Feedback gathered from students, faculty, administrators, and alumni was incorporated in the recommendations presented to the Seminary’s board. The Board of Trustees also conducted a year-long process of study.  

“From the beginning,” says White, “the Board of Trustees has encouraged a thorough process of understanding our history that would lead to meaningful response.”

With an immediate rollout of the plan and continuation through 2024, the Seminary intends to make meaningful and lasting change with the more than 20 approved initiatives, including: 
  • Offering 30 new scholarships, valued at the cost of tuition plus $15,000, for students who are descendants of slaves or from underrepresented groups  
  • Hiring a full-time director of the Center for Black Church Studies
  • Hiring a new faculty member whose research and teaching will give critical attention to African American experience and ecclesial life
  • Changes in the Seminary curriculum, including a required cross-cultural component and integrating into the first-year curriculum for every master’s student sustained academic engagement with the implications of the historical audit
  • Designating five doctoral fellowships for students who are descendants of slaves or from underrepresented groups
  • Naming the library after Theodore Sedgwick Wright, the first African American to attend and graduate from Princeton Seminary
  • Naming the Center for Black Church Studies after Betsey Stockton a prominent African American educator in Princeton during the antebellum North and a Presbyterian missionary in the Sandwich Islands (present-day Hawaii). Prior to gaining freedom, Stockton was owned by the chair of Princeton Seminary’s Board of Trustees.
  • Enhancing community partnerships and supporting historically disenfranchised communities in and around Princeton
  • Ensuring every member of the Princeton Seminary community understands its history
A committee has been established to oversee the implementation of the plan and will regularly report progress to the board.  The program costs for the responses represent a commitment of more than $1 million annually on an ongoing basis. To sustain this programming in perpetuity, $27.6 million will be reserved in the endowment.
“The Seminary’s ties to slavery are a part of our story. It is important to acknowledge that our founders were entangled with slavery and could not envision a fully integrated society,” says Princeton Seminary President M. Craig Barnes. “We are committed to telling the truth.  We did not want to shy away from the uncomfortable part of our history and the difficult conversations that revealing the truth would produce.”
The historical audit uncovered that the Seminary did not own slaves and its buildings were not constructed with slave labor. Yet, the Seminary benefited from the slave economy, both through investments in Southern banks in the mid-19th century and from donors who profited from slavery. Also, founding faculty and leaders used slave labor at some point in their lives. Several of the first professors and board members were deeply involved in the American Colonization Society, which advocated sending free blacks to Liberia.
“Our response to the historical audit is the beginning of our community’s journey of repair as we seek to redress historic wrongs and to help the Seminary be more faithful to our mission as a school of the church, both now and in the years to come,” says Barnes. “We are taking tangible action to write a new chapter in our story.”

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Sheila Jackson Lee explains her bill #HR40: Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals

Watch Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX 18th Distric)t explain her bill #HR40-Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. The Congresswoman explains why she decided to introduce this very important bill and it's next steps.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Mitch McConnell: Reparations For Slavery Not A Good Idea

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday rejected reparations for slavery in part because it would be hard to know whom to pay. Watch his statements below:

Saturday, June 15, 2019

House Judiciary Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Legislation to Study Slavery Reparations

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties has issued a press release about a hearing it will hold a hearing on H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act which was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas.

Read that release below:

June 19th: House Judiciary Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on H.R. 40, Legislation to Study Slavery Reparations

Washington, D.C. – On June 19th at 10:00 a.m., the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties will hold a hearing on H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. The purpose of the hearing is to examine, through open and constructive discourse, the legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, its continuing impact on the community and the path to restorative justice.   

Witnesses:       Ta-Nehisi Coates, Distinguished Writer in Residence, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University
Danny Glover, Actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the U.N. Decade for People of African Descent
Katrina Browne, Documentarian: Traces of the Trade
Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Episcopal Bishop of Maryland
Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Economist and Political Commentator
Professor Eric J. Miller, Loyola Marymount University
Republican witnesses to be announced      

Date:               June 19, 2019

Time:               10:00 a.m.

Location:         2141 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington D.C.

Livestream:     The hearing will stream live here

Background: H.R. 40, the “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act,” would create a commission to study the history of slavery in the United States and in the American colonies from 1619 to 1865; the role of the federal and state governments in supporting slavery; federal and state laws that discriminated against the descendants of African slaves; other forms of discrimination against the descendants of African slaves; and the lingering effects of slavery on African Americans.  The commission would also make recommendations as to appropriate ways to educate the American public about its fin
116th Congress

Friday, April 12, 2019

Georgetown Students Vote to Pay Reparations

As debate over reparations heats us, Georgetown University students voted Thursday by a large margin to impose a fee on themselves to pay reparations for the university's ties to slavery.

The student election commission announced the results early this morning. The measure attracted just under two-thirds of voters and passed, 2,541 to 1,304.

The measure calls for the university to start with a fee of $27.20 per semester in fall of 2020, "in honor of the 272 people sold by Georgetown," referring to the slaves sold by Jesuits to finance the university in its early days. The resolution says that proceeds from the fund "will be allocated for charitable purposes directly benefiting the descendants of the GU272 and other persons once enslaved by the Maryland Jesuits -- with special consideration given to causes and proposals directly benefiting those descendants still residing in proud and underprivileged communities,"

The proposed fee would be a tiny fraction of the price of attending Georgetown, where tuition alone is more than $55,000 this year.

While the measure is not binding on the university, the vote comes as Democratic presidential candidates have elevated the national debate over reparations. The vote also marks a potential shift in higher education.

In recent years, many colleges -- including Georgetown -- have conducted studies of their ties to slavery. Those studies have led to publications, academic conferences and monuments that honor the labor of slaves.

But the vote by Georgetown is the first move to have students pay reparations.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

National African American Reparations Commission Applauds Statements of Interest by 2020 Presidential Contenders

The National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC) applauds several Presidential contenders for their recent expressed interest in reparations and calls on all the candidates to prioritize reparatory justice as an issue of importance to Black voters in the weeks and months ahead.
NAARC is also calling on all 2020 candidates, as well as other lawmakers, to support HR40, the reparations bill authored by former U.S. Cong. John Conyers, which has languished in Congress since 1989. HR-40, which was reintroduced in the 115th Congress, was developed in consultation with NAARC.
It calls for establishing a federal commission to study reparations proposals for African Americans that would repair the horrific socio-economic damages caused by the enslavement and generations of racially exclusive/discriminatory policies and practices post-emancipation.
The current reparations conversation is especially relevant in light of the fact that 2019 marks the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of Africans in chains in Virginia, which opened the era of slavery, one of the most sordid chapters in U.S. history.
"In general, the recent statements by presidential candidates are a positive development," said Dr. Ron Daniels, Convener of NAARC and President of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW). "They reflect an increasing body of scholarship that definitively draws the connection between the enslavement of Africans and the persistent wealth-gap and underdevelopment of Black America."
Candidates are also responding to the growing, multifaceted reparations movement in this country and to the fact that in recent public opinion polls, reparations now enjoys the support of a majority of African Americans as well as from a growing percentage of young white millennial voters.
"NAARC stands ready to educate and orient candidates and legislators on the definition, background, process, internationally accepted norms and historical precedents for reparations to repair damages inflicted on peoples and nations. Hopefully, this will enrich the public dialogue on this vital issue," added Dr. Daniels.
NAARC was established in April 2015 at a National/International Reparations Summit convened by IBW in New York City. The nonpartisan Commission is comprised of distinguished Black leaders from across the U.S. in the fields of law, education, public health, economic development, religion, labor, civil and human rights.
For decades, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America Americans (NCOBRA) has been a leading force advancing the struggle for reparations in the U.S. Kamm Howard, National Co-Chairperson of NCOBRA and a NAARC Commissioner, welcomes the surge in support for reparations by the presidential candidates but insists that the discussion and debate be centered around reparations as full repair. "The international standard holds that reparations 'must wipe out all consequences' of the wrongful acts committed against enslaved Africans," said Howard.
"To get us to full repair, policies programs and practices must be developed to produce the following outcomes: cessation and guarantees of non-repetition, restitution, compensation, satisfaction, and rehabilitation. These are the intended outcomes of HR 40. The candidates, some of whom are Senators, should craft a Senate companion bill. This can be done now if they are serious about their support for reparations."
To help frame the public discourse and as a guide for action by governmental and private entities, NAARC has devised a comprehensive and detailed Ten-Point Reparations Program that addresses the issues of repair and restitution. The creation of a National Reparations Trust Fund is among the proposals outlined in the NAARC's Reparations Program. The Authority would receive grants of funds, scholarships, land and other forms of restitution to benefit the collective advancement of Black America. It would be comprised of a cross-section of credible representatives of reparations, civil rights, and human rights, labor, faith, educational, civic and fraternal organizations and institutions.
The Authority will be empowered to establish subsidiary trust funds to administer projects and initiatives in the areas of culture, economic development, education, health and other fields as deemed appropriate based on the demands of the Reparations Program.
To increase public awareness of the Program, NAARC has convened initial Hearings and Town Hall Meetings in Atlanta and New Orleans and plans to hold additional sessions in a number of cities across the country.
Pan Africanist and international movements in support of slavery reparations have emerged across the globe, from the Caribbean and Latin America to AfricaAsia, and Australia. In that regard, it is significant to note that NAARC works closely with the CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC) which is claiming reparations from the former European colonial powers for Native genocide and African enslavement.
Advocates for reparatory justice explain that the issue covers both the past and the present and it contains the potential to defend and protect American democracy at a time when it is being threatened by a rise in white nationalism, autocracy and oligarchy. In a recent meeting, NAARC Commissioners also took note of the fact there are external forces that seem intent on sowing confusion within the American electorate to suppress the Black vote to favor the ascendancy of these reactionary forces.
NAARC Commissioner Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference stressed that, "reparations is a process that affirms the humanity of people of African descent and the healing of communities from trans-generational trauma. It is unquestionably the right and just thing to do. Reparations also carries a gravitas that the country as a whole can benefit from as it searches for a moral compass to guide it through these turbulent times which are exacerbated by deeply entrenched bigotry, institutionalized racism and structural economic disparities."
"As the richest country on the planet, America has more than enough resources to sustain a comprehensive, national reparations program," says NAARC Commissioner Dr. Julianne Malveaux, noted political-economist and educator. "America needs to accept its moral responsibility to repair and rectify the lingering damages of African enslavement and racially discriminatory policies after Emancipation."
Dr. Ron Daniels concluded that "reparations is as relevant to our political agenda as any other issue. Finally receiving our '40 acres and a mule' is a matter of 'national emergency' when dealing with the profound crises afflicting marginalized Black communities across this nation. The time for reparatory initiatives based upon the principles of justice and equality is now, and NAARC calls on all of the 2020 presidential candidates to endorse and vigorously support HR-40 as a vehicle to move the United States towards redressing one of the original sins of its founding."
Related Files
Related Links